By John Piper
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
No one has ever felt unloved because he was told that the attainment of his joy would make another person happy. I have never been accused of selfishness when justifying a kindness on the basis that it delights me. On the contrary, loving acts are genuine to the degree that they are not done begrudgingly.
And the good alternative to begrudgingly is not neutrally or dutifully, but gladly. The authentic heart of love loves kindness (Micah 6:8); it doesn’t just do kindness. Christian Hedonism forces this truth into consideration.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. (1 John 5:2–4)
Read these sentences in reverse order and notice the logic. First, being born of God gives a power that conquers the world. This is given as the ground or basis (notice the word “For”) for the statement that the commandments of God are not burdensome.
So, being born of God gives a power that conquers our worldly aversion to the will of God. Now his commandments are not “burdensome,” but are the desire and delight of our heart. This is the love of God: not just that we do his commandments, but also that they are not burdensome.
Then in verse 2 the evidence of the genuineness of our love for the children of God is said to be the love of God. What does this teach us about our love for the children of God?
Since love for God is doing his will gladly rather than with a sense of burden, and since love for God is the measure of the genuineness of our love for the children of God, therefore our love for the children of God must also be done gladly rather than begrudgingly.
Christian Hedonism stands squarely in the service of love, for it presses us on to glad obedience, not just begrudging obedience.